|Modesto's "Spanish Negroni." | Patrick J. Hurley|
The Drunken Vegan, a.k.a. Patrick J. Hurley, is a full-time barman at the Civil Life Brewing Company and cocktail enthusiast about town. He's an unapologetic drunkard, a vegan and a bon vivant, and, no, he doesn't think those last two terms contradict each other.
Amid a sea of Italian-American restaurants on the Hill is a little Spanish island of a restaurant, Modesto (5257 Shaw Avenue; 314-772-8272), with its tapas-based menu. Happy hour (5 to 7 p.m. every day, and all night Tuesday and Thursday) offers tasty small bites and drinks. But don't limit yourself to the standard red sangria (which is nice) or a cold beer. Modesto offers some interesting twists on familiar cocktails that go well with the inexpensive snacks. The Drunken Vegan tasted four of them.
The "Spanish Negroni" is an unusual take on the classic with the addition of sherry, which lends an earthy, nutty note to the drink, a nice counterpoint to the bitterness of the Campari, and the citrus from the orange bitters and gin. The subtle herbaceous character of the vermouth still comes through. It pairs perfectly with marinated olives.
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